enter image description here

Description of the location

  1. It is in India
  2. The place is 300-400 m above sea level.
  3. There is no water body nearby.

Which insect makes these patterns?

  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to Biology.SE. Can you please add the broader scale location (continent, country/region)? $\endgroup$ – Remi.b Jun 2 '16 at 2:26
  • $\begingroup$ @Remi.b Continent:Asia,Country:India $\endgroup$ – nrb Jun 2 '16 at 2:31
  • $\begingroup$ Specifically where in India? And which hill? $\endgroup$ – rishab bairagi Jun 2 '16 at 17:22

It could be an antlion. Antlions are a group of about 2000 species that can be found all around the world (including India). Antlions mainly live in the kind of dry areas you describe and that we see in your picture. I don't think one could be more accurate and tell the genus without a picture of the individual but I might be wrong.

Here is an adult antlion:

enter image description here

and here is a larva antlion

enter image description here

The small pits you see are made by larvae. The larvae make these small trap pits to capture ants (and some other small insects). The larvae is buried in the soil at the center of the pit and simply waits for prey to fall into the pit. Below is a picture of such a pit:

enter image description here

| improve this answer | |
  • $\begingroup$ Parents had similar sand pits in their garden. It always occurred in groups, always in dry sand areas. It was similar to the one you have posted but different from the OP's images - at the center of the pit there's no "hole" or "well" that exist on every single hole in OP's pictures. At one time when I noticed that holes in the garden, I first thought about antlions, too, but after carefully digging a few pits out I have not found any residents. Maybe in our garden the insects have aleady moved out and the "well" has collapsed.. I don't know. Just an observation. I still think it's antlion. $\endgroup$ – quetzalcoatl Jun 2 '16 at 8:43
  • $\begingroup$ Wow. I had no idea that adult antlions turn into dragonflies! $\endgroup$ – Mason Wheeler Jun 2 '16 at 10:44
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ It's not a dragonfly. Dragonflies can't fold their wings, while an antlion can fold its wings in a manner similar to a damselfly or a caddisfly. $\endgroup$ – Bob Jarvis - Reinstate Monica Jun 2 '16 at 11:42
  • $\begingroup$ Actually, it's neither a dragonfly nor a damselfly, which are both Odonata. Antlions are Neuroptera, an order more related to Coleoptera. $\endgroup$ – user24284 Jun 4 '16 at 8:20

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